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Lives of American Women

About the Series

Selected and edited by renowned women's historian Carol Berkin, these brief, affordably priced biographies are designed for use in undergraduate courses. Rather than taking a comprehensive approach, each biography focuses instead on a particular aspect of a women's life that is emblematic of her time or made her a pivotal figure in her era. The emphasis is on a "good read," featuring accessible writing and compelling narratives, without sacrificing sound scholarship and academic integrity. Primary sources are included at the end of each biography, alongside study questions and an annotated bibliography, which support the student reader.

13 Series Titles

Per Page

Sally Hemings Given Her Time

Sally Hemings: Given Her Time

1st Edition


By Leigh Fought
July 31, 2024

Sally Hemings: Given Her Time is an exciting, concise biography tells that tells the extraordinary tale of Sally Hemings, mother of Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved children. Born on the eve of the American Revolution, the war hung over Sally Hemings' childhood. As a teenager, she travelled to Paris to ...

Catharine Beecher The Complexity of Gender in Nineteenth-Century America

Catharine Beecher: The Complexity of Gender in Nineteenth-Century America

1st Edition

By Cindy R. Lobel, Laura J. Ping
December 30, 2022

Catharine Beecher: The Complexity of Gender in Nineteenth-Century America investigates how the life of education reformer Catharine Beecher is a lens through which to understand the cultural changes of the nineteenth century. Catharine Beecher’s writings outlined a unique domestic role for women ...

Barbara Egger Lennon Teacher, Mother, Activist

Barbara Egger Lennon: Teacher, Mother, Activist

1st Edition

By Tina Stewart Brakebill
January 13, 2015

Facets of Barbara Egger Lennon's life depict an ordinary white Midwestern woman of her time: teacher, wife, mother. Her work as a union organizer and political activist, however, complicate that picture. The way in which Egger Lennon balanced these roles illustrates how many women of her time ...

Betsy Mix Cowles Champion of Equality

Betsy Mix Cowles: Champion of Equality

1st Edition

By Stacey M Robertson
November 01, 2013

Betsy Mix Cowles (a champion of equality whose circle of acquaintances included Frederick Douglass, Abby Kelley, and William Lloyd Garrison) is a brilliant example of what an educated and independent woman can accomplish. A staunch defender of abolitionism, Cowles also took up the cause of women's ...

Julia Lathrop Social Service and Progressive Government

Julia Lathrop: Social Service and Progressive Government

1st Edition

By Miriam Cohen
June 07, 2019

Julia Lathrop was a social servant, government activist, and social scientist who expanded notions of women's proper roles in public life during the early 1900s. Appointed as chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau, created in 1912 to promote child welfare, she was the first woman to head a United ...

Lillian Gilbreth Redefining Domesticity

Lillian Gilbreth: Redefining Domesticity

1st Edition

By Julie Des Jardins
September 25, 2012

Lillian Gilbreth is a stunning example of female ingenuity in the early twentieth century. At a time when women were standard fixtures in the home and barely accepted in many professions, Gilbreth excelled in both spheres, concurrently winning honors as 'Engineer of the Year' and 'Mother of the ...

Rebecca Dickinson Independence for a New England Woman

Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman

1st Edition

By Marla Miller
August 06, 2013

Rebecca Dickinson's powerful voice, captured through excerpts from the pages of her journal, allows colonial and revolutionary-era New England to come alive. Dickinson's life illustrates the dilemmas faced by many Americans in the decades before, during, and after the American Revolution, as well ...

Shirley Chisholm Catalyst for Change

Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change

1st Edition

By Barbara Winslow
November 01, 2013

A staunch proponent of breaking down racial and gender barriers, Shirley Chisholm had the esteemed privilege of being a pioneer in many aspects of her life. She was the first African American woman from Brooklyn elected to the New York State legislature and the first African American woman elected ...

Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America Reinventing Self and Nation

Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America: Reinventing Self and Nation

1st Edition

By Carol Quirke
March 01, 2019

Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America charts the life of Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), whose life was radically altered by the Depression, and whose photography helped transform the nation. The book begins with her childhood in immigrant, metropolitan New York, ...

Alice Paul Equality for Women

Alice Paul: Equality for Women

1st Edition

By Christine Lunardini
November 06, 2012

Alice Paul: Equality for Women shows the dominant and unwavering role Paul played in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting the vote to American women. The dramatic details of Paul's imprisonment and solitary confinement, hunger strike, and force-feeding at the hands of the U.S. ...

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Modern American Revolutionary

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: Modern American Revolutionary

1st Edition

By Lara Vapnek
January 27, 2015

In 1906, fifteen-year old Elizabeth Gurley Flynn mounted a soapbox in Times Square to denounce capitalism and proclaim a new era for women's freedom. Quickly recognized as an outstanding public speaker and formidable organizer, she devoted her life to creating a socialist America, "free from ...

Mary Pickford Hollywood and the New Woman

Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman

1st Edition

By Kathleen A. Feeley
February 23, 2016

On screen and off, movie star Mary Pickford personified the 'New Woman' of the early 1900s, a moniker given to women who began to demand more autonomy inside and outside the home. Well educated and career-minded, these women also embraced the new mass culture in which consumption and leisure were ...

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